Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Book review - A Blaze of Glory.

I have to admit up front, I am a fan of Jeff Shaara's work. From his novels to bookend his father's Killer Angels through the other historical novels from the American Revolution to World War 2. Seems like each is a fine work. My one complaint about Shaara's Civil War work is that he wrote only about the eastern theater of the war.

With A Blaze of Glory Shaara renders that complaint moot. In 435 gripping pages he tells the tale of the battle of Shiloh - the first major blood-letting in the west. A quick overview to set the table and the story is off and running. Generals Sherman and Johnston wrestle with issues of command and the morality of the war. An infantryman in Sherman's command and a cavalryman under Colonel Nathan Forrest confront the more common dilemma of staying alive. All join the nation in having the innocence ripped away by the bloody fighting around a small country church.

Shaara does an excellent job in bringing his characters to life. The story flows well for the most part and the sequence of events is clear and understandable. While not a history book, the novel conveys the story of Shiloh in a way that both holds the reader's attention and sparks an interest in learning more. Perhaps the best part is a note on the flyleaf stating A Blaze of Glory is the first of a new trilogy of books on the war in the west. That is good news indeed.

No comments: